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CynicAle - Surly Brewing Company

Not Rated.

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.
very good

1,233 Ratings
no score

(send 'em beer!)
Ratings: 1,233
Reviews: 583
rAvg: 3.99
pDev: 10.28%
Wants: 231
Gots: 118 | FT: 4
Brewed by:
Surly Brewing Company visit their website
Minnesota, United States

Style | ABV
Saison / Farmhouse Ale |  6.70% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: tavernjef on 06-02-2006)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 1,233 | Reviews: 583 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Preismj
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

a: rich golden hue...looks like apple cider with a nice cloud for a head. moderate lacing and the head retreats quickly.

s: weak scent of white grapes and a clove like gingerbread smell. The yeasty smell is rolling over the rim of the glass on this and it has tones of green apple.

t: much like a belgian in the way it tastes of yeast and spice, though this brew has a mild tartness to it that is not overpowering in the least. Moderate bitterness in the finish makes this quite refreshing when it is all said and done. not an over powering flavor.

m: rich and creamy despite being a bit thin. solid carbonation makes this a very drinkable brew.

o: I could have 10 of these in a row based solely on the feel and how easily it would quench my thirst. The tartness is mild and welcome, though I think I could only take down about 2 of these before wanting something with more flavor to it. A good way to stay cool on a hot summer day, but lacks that pop from the spices despite a nice rich flavor from the tart fruits inside.

Preismj, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of UCLABrewN84
3.93/5  rDev -1.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Thanks to UMNbeerhunter for sending me this one!

Pours a clear light orange-yellow with a 1 inch off-white head that fades to a thin cap. Random chunks of lace line the glass on the drink down. Smells of grains, spices, and Belgian yeast. Taste is exactly like the smell with the Belgian yeast taking prominence and the grain and spice flavors coming through on the finish. Reading the can I see that the hops are supposed to impart apricot/peach flavors and I do get them if I search for it. Beer has a good level of carbonation but seems a tiny bit flat. Very smooth in the mouth. Overall, this is a good beer from Surly but not one of my favorite styles. I am glad I got to try this one.

UCLABrewN84, Jun 08, 2011
Photo of jcartamdg
4.5/5  rDev +12.8%
look: 3 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Poured into my surly pint glass courtesy of theduderules. Pours a apple juice color with a little head that dissipates almost instantly. The aroma is great, Belgian yeast, fruity and a little funk. Taste is amazing, everything from the nose only intensified and a peppery finish. Mouthfeel is nice, smooth with moderate carbonation. This is a great saison, if I lived in surly land, this would be a regular in my rotation.

jcartamdg, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of alf212
3.8/5  rDev -4.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Poured into Snifter

Appearance: Nothing spectacular. Golden straw color, maybe a little darker

Smell: Typical belgian yeast, a little fruity and bready. Smells good but not spectacular.

Taste: Not as much funk as I would have expected from a saison but not to say it's not good. Cloves and bannanas coming through with some hop bitterness as well.

Drinkability: VERY drinkable, i mean i could have can after can of this. Great for the summer, very refreshing. slightly dry finish

Side note, do not eat with korean food or very flavorful meats haha. Had the first half as I was cooking it was going fine but then I drank the rest with my meal and it went downhill. The food killed the taste and it started tasting a lil watery. Wouldn't really accompany this with any food IMO, maybe some light cheese

alf212, Jun 07, 2011
Photo of claspada
3.88/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Aromas begin with doughy and biscuity maltiness and equal amounts of spicy Belgian yeast. A little earthy and clove as well.
The taste begins with the clove and spicy Belgian yeast flavors again with equal amounts of bready and doughy malt backbone. The spiciness could also be from the hops. Earthy and a little lemon and floral hops as well. The yeast and malts are predominant throughout and dominate the flavor profile.
The mouthfeel is fuller and more lucious than most Saisons I have had recently. The carbonation also is not as in your face like most tradional Belgian examples yet still finishes crisp and on the dryer side. Overall this is a nice American interpretation of the style, which I prefer to the traditional examples but that is personal preference. Highly recommended for lovers of this style of which I am not, but this may make me one.

claspada, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of DearthVader
3.95/5  rDev -1%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I've got to say thanks to two people for this one since I received one in a BIF right after I sent a trade out for some. jimixr and larsenju, thank you for the opportunity to have multiples of these.

Pours a glowing copper orange color with a nice 1 finger of white foam that sits for just a moment. It fades to a film that thickens quickly with a swirl. You can see the carbonation racing to the top in this one.

Lemon peel and grassy funk dominate the nose. Definite signs of tangerine and apricot, but are overcome by the the lemon abd funk.

Taste is upfront with a tart grassy flavor. Lemon peel follows quickly. Has a slight hoppy bitterness that's very nice in the style. I tried to pick up the tangerine and apricot I was smelling, but failed.

Great mouthfeel. Solid carbonation that makes this dangerously drinkable.

I'm very impressed yet again by Surly. I'm looking forward to having the rest of the four pack at a barbecue tomorrow.

DearthVader, Jun 04, 2011
Photo of colt45n
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Dark and cloundy yellow, very hazy, light comes through but nothing clear at all about this one.

S: I can smell the farmhouse funk and soon as I begin to pour, getting some lemon peel and maybe a little orange, grass.

T: lots of carbonaiton as it hits the tounge, getting a lot of the funk upfront, grassy lemon flavor on the the back end very subtle on the lemon though.

Overall very good farmhouse ale, a lot of great flavor, funk, and carbonation make for a very enjoyable beer.

colt45n, Jun 01, 2011
Photo of vobr0002
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A- better color than the other light looking beers, a bit darker golden color. Good size head about a finger high.

S- not what you would call an appealing smell, but what you would expect from this style of beer. There is some fruit mixed in.

T- it has a fruity, banana sort of after taste to it. Its actually very pleasant. Very suprised.

M- very smooth with a higher level of carbonation.

O- this is a great beer on a warm summer day with much more flavor than a beer that swill drinkers would want. Maybe a good beer for someone to start trying micro brews.

vobr0002, May 28, 2011
Photo of TVolt1
3.28/5  rDev -17.8%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A: Clear golden yellow color with pinky-sized head. Not much lace when swirled. Nothing very unique about the appearance but will give it a average for the clarity. I mean heck, I can read the computer through my beer.

S: Not a fan of the smell. Makes my nose wrinkle and does not make me want to drink it. Has somewhat of a musky smell.

T:The taste suprised me somewhat. I like the initial taste of it. It has a fruity taste along with a taste of a pilsner-type beer. The finish leaves my nose turned up a little as I still taste whatever the muskiness is I smelt. I have a feeling that this just isn't a style of beer I care for. I am more pleased with the taste than smell and the more I drink...the more I still am not a huge fan.

M: good mouthfeel, pretty light with medium carbonation. Any heavier and it would be too much to handle!

O: Overall, I am glad I tried this beer. I do know it's not a style of beer I usually go for but can appreciate the appearance and the fruity smooth taste of this beer. I would recommend it to a person who likes this type of beer for sure.

TVolt1, May 28, 2011
Photo of Shumania
4.47/5  rDev +12%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Surly can poured into a DFH signature glass

a: Bright yellow/orange that is somewhat hazy. 2 finger head that stays pretty well.

s: grassy with somefunk, slight sweet candy - bubble gum almost

t: similar to the smell, grassy, lemon, pepper - very complex taste

m: Very dry, which is not a bad thing. Easy to drink

o: I am beginning to love saisons. I have had this a couple times and it is enjoyable and easy to drink. Very complex beer that I could sip on for a while. Surly makes me wish I lived in Minnesota sometime.

Shumania, May 27, 2011
Photo of vande
4.18/5  rDev +4.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A ~ Crystal clear gold. Nothing hazy about it. Thick, 2 finger foam layer, like whip cream on a sundae. Nice and fluffy.

S ~ Fruity [?] & Funky! Some sweet barnyardiness -- straw, musty hay, bell peppery....

T ~ Matches the smell. This funky mess makes the tongue dance a bit. Not crazy yeasty, but a decent blend of farmhouse & fruit all in one.

M ~ Light. Not a whole on this one. Goes down pretty easy.

O ~ Pretty good. Not had a bad brew from Surly, this was no different.

vande, May 27, 2011
Photo of Alpar
3.45/5  rDev -13.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

Poured from can to a tulip glass.

A: Nice golden/orange color with good carbonation that sits around for awhile.

S: Very clean with some earthy/grass maybe a little lemon but not funky like a typical Saison/Farmhouse Ale.

T: Better than the smell. Very clean and refreshing but a little more complex than the nose lead on. I can taste the grassy lemon scents I picked up and the carbonation level seems to work nice this.

M: Kind of coating actually, thought it would be a bit thinner from the appearance but I like whats going here.

O: A great tasting well made beer but I prefer other saisons to this one. Won't mind having it around for regular consumption though :)

Alpar, May 24, 2011
Photo of mizzouguy
4.2/5  rDev +5.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours clear golden color with a big fluffy head. As the can says it is a yellow fizzy beer, well not really but it is golden and fluffy. Didn't get much smell off this one. Not trying to be lazy, but smells like a saison beer with no overwhelming scents coming through. Taste is much better than the smell. Some great sweet fruitiness with some spice and yeast in the mix, with a little funky flavor. Mouth is all about the carbonation which is quite nice. Overall a very good beer.

mizzouguy, May 15, 2011
Photo of dbossman
4.05/5  rDev +1.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Clear, golden color with a thick and sudsy head that sticks around for quite a while; the lacing on this puppy is pretty good--big soapy looking rings that hang around for a bit

S: This is a grainy and grassy beer with a strong lemon and apple undertone; it is so grassy and slightly funky--though not as much funk as I like in my saisons--but this smells tasty

T: The grassy, grainy funk isn't as pronounced--some Belgian yeasty fruity funk but it's a bit more subdued than I would prefer--but there is that lemon and apple fruity, dry quality that I do appreciate in my Saisons

F: A bit of a carbonation burn up front but that quickly subsides--almost too much because it is fairly thin on the back end

O: This is a different but nice and easy drinking saison; a great beer for the summer but I wouldn't necessarily put just one season on this guy: I could drink this any time; nice work again Surly

dbossman, May 14, 2011
Photo of ngeunit1
4.22/5  rDev +5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A - Pours a slightly cloudy golden-orange color with a finger of frothy white head. The head fades down to a thick ring around the glass leaving behind some nice lacing on the glass.

S - Aroma is a mix of some Belgian yeast and wheat. There is some spices and banana mixed in a well. Some earthiness and funk mix in too.

T - Starts off with some tart lemon and Belgian yeast flavors. There is a bit of wheat in the background. Thorough the middle some spices (pepper and clove) and banana come through. The finish is a mix of yeast and lemon and a touch of spice that lingers nicely.

M - Medium-light bodied with moderate lively carbonation. Feels really nice and smooth and really crisp. Has a fairly dry mouthfeel that is really nice.

D - Very drinkable. The flavors are really nicely balanced. A nice American take on the saison style. The flavors are all there and could have been just a touch stronger.

ngeunit1, May 13, 2011
Photo of HuskyinPDX
3.9/5  rDev -2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Reviewed on 4.11.11

16oz can poured into a pint glass.

A- Pours a yellow with a fizzy white head.

S- Smells very floral, grapes, and peppery.

T- Tastes like black pepper, apricots, and tobacco.

D- Smooth, and good carbonation.

O- The flavors are present, but I did not enjoy them all together.

I had to review this one with a fresh can on 6.24.12. Dated 5.23.12.
A light, refreshing Belgian lemony and nice. Good spice and balanced. Great mouthfeel. A nice beer. My scores will reflect this can.

HuskyinPDX, May 12, 2011
Photo of Chriscrundwell12
4/5  rDev +0.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a 16 oz can into a pint glass.

A- Two finger head excellent carbonation, slightly clear, light brown gold appearance nice lacing, classic saison appearance.
S- Hazy, peach, typical Belgium yeast aroma that comes with a saison, hints of banana, hints of spice.
T- Very refreshing, I can taste that honey and Belgium yeast, hints of peach, very light and refreshing.
M- Very light, smooth, well carbonated, very drinkable.
O- What can I say another solid beer from Surly, I feel like this one is a little under rated, very refreshing, quality saison.

Chriscrundwell12, May 06, 2011
Photo of Beerandraiderfan
3.15/5  rDev -21.1%
look: 3.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pours a light yellow color, good white head to this. Aroma is almost nonexistant.

Taste, clove, not dry enough, no funk, sometimes people just see the style and write 'funk' I guess. A little bit of pepper to it. Refreshing, good carbonation to it. A little more banana. Yeasty in a belgian way. Hides the alcohol nicely. Light, light colored fruit appearance.

Another beer that seems to benefit from some homerism. Totally lacking in complexity, barely made up for in its simplicity and drinkability.

Beerandraiderfan, May 05, 2011
Photo of TheDudeRules
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Poured from a can to a imperial pint glass.

Pours a golden straw color. Four full fingers of pillowie off white head. Light lacing remains. old it to the light and tiny little carbonation bubbles lazily tip toe to the surface.

Notes of sweet stone fruit emit. I pick up some cut grass mixed in there as well. Farmhouse funk, but not overly. Light and refreshing is my overall impression. Fizzy is best way to describe the carbonation. Peach and black pepper are here and they play well together. This beer is very light and easy drinking to me. This 16oz four pack is goin down to China Town. A great summertime brew.

TheDudeRules, May 05, 2011
Photo of Fluke828
4.08/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

16oz can poured into Harpoon Limited Edition Snifter.
Can dated either 3/20 or 3/28 2011. Can't tell because the digits on the date stamp on the bottom of the can are too smooshed together to discern an actual canning date.
Got this in a trade with rebis1bear. Thanks again Dave!

A-> Pours a classic Saison color with a little more than 1 finger's worth of white head that dissipates very quickly. Pretty good lace although mostly as a film or thin layer on the top of the beer. Not too much to speak off on the walls of the glass.

S-> Hmm, not too much to report here, smells of Belgian yeast and classic Saison aromas. Nothing too really makes itself noticed other than that.

T-> OK that's MUCH better. Getting fruity esters like apricot and maybe a little of the peach that is mentioned on the can. Definitely Belgian yeast that is in the spotlight throughout though. Getting a bit of oat-like flavor which complements the Belgian yeast nicely. Some floral and grassy/herbal notes as well but that is par for the course with this style and these elements are there albeit underrepresented, but not in a bad way. Belgian yeast is again, REALLY prevalent throughout.

M-> Feel is good for the style. Would have liked a tad more carbonation but then again, it might have taken away from the flavors hitting the palate so I will stand by the brewers @ Surly and say that this well balanced and crisp, however still a bit light for the style. I would say light to medium bodied, with a tad too much water and a tad too little carbonation.

O-> I liked this beer, I really did. It is very good representation of the style and brings a lot to the table in the way of flavor. Not sure if being in the can for 5 or 6 weeks (whichever it actually is) had any effect on the aromas or the taste, but I certainly expected more in the aroma department from Surly. That being said, the taste of this brew more than made up for the smell. Chalk up another success for Surly Brewing!

Fluke828, Apr 30, 2011
Photo of Wadsey
3.1/5  rDev -22.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4.5

Hard-poured into a New Belgium tulip.

A: Pale gold with excellent clarity and a little effervescence. Head is noticeably lacking and lacing is negligible.

S: Pepper seems prominent, followed by lemon zest and a touch of fruity hops. Some grain.

T: Leads with two-note punch of belgian yeast: spicy pepper and lemon fruitiness. A little more sweet and less tart than expected for style. Big grains here, almost grassy. A little bitter and spicy for finish.

M: Possesses a relatively big body and lacks bright carbonation. Soft on palate.

D: Cynicale feels a bit too symplistic for the style, but I think what it lacks in complexity it makes up for in drinkability.

Wadsey, Apr 25, 2011
Photo of cosmicevan
4.25/5  rDev +6.5%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Big thanks to Shango42 for hooking this one up a while ago.

a - cracked the can and filled my capt lawrence taster tulip. beer poured a clear and insanely bubbly transparent orange with a bubbly head. no lacing to speak of and the bubbles kept coming.

s - nice soft sweet banana and clove. a bit grassy, but more subtly candied sweet. smells very good. really nice and subtle. ideal for the warming spring air.

t - follows the nose with the same sweet banana clove. very subtle earthiness (which i dig since i find most saisons to be too heavy in the grassy dept).

m - good tingle, a bit on the watery side, but not not overly so. nice carbonation at first, but seemed to dissipate rather quickly.

o - to me the benchmark on a saison is hennepin and this beer did a nice job of capturing a lot of what i like in that beer. probably should've drank this one a bit fresher since the canned on date is about 3 months ago, but i am still a big fan of the flavor and the beer in general. i wonder if the flavors would be more pronounced or what the beer has lost over time, but it is quite tasty and enjoyable. another winner from surly.

cosmicevan, Apr 23, 2011
Photo of muttyd
4.33/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Haven't had too many American saisons that were anything but shortfalls compared to Fantome, DuPont, etc. Hopefully, the brewery that brews one of my favorite IPAs can change my mind.

Pours a hazy golden yellow with a thick foamy white head. Head settles into about a 1/4 inch thick and persists throughout. Aroma is pretty spot on for the style; yeast spice, lemon zest, apples & apricots, some horseblanket funk. Pale, grainy malts in the nose as well. Flavor follows the nose; grainy & bready, slightly funky, bright & fruity. Finishes with a peppery, yeasty funk. Can't get enough of this brewery (and this beer). Well put-together saision.

muttyd, Apr 21, 2011
Photo of mdaschaf
3.98/5  rDev -0.3%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

A: Pours a slightly hazy bright yellow/orange color with a tight one finger head, bone white in color. Decent amount of carbonation released from the bottom. Decent head retention, but not much lacing.

S: Some light green apple and a little bit of apricot/peach hit me right off the bat. There is some spice that increases as it warms.

T: Very similar to the aroma, light green apple and some peach. Not as much spice as the nose or most in the style, and I don't really mind, they accentuate the flavors nicely.

M: Light to medium bodied with nice carbonation. Very drinkable.

O: Pretty good, if the flavors were a bit bolder I would have liked it a lot more, but they seemed slightly weak. A solid brew I would love to drink on a hot day hanging out with friends, good for BBQs and horseshoes.

mdaschaf, Apr 20, 2011
Photo of deebo
4.38/5  rDev +9.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A-Golden orange/amber with slight haze. No head.

S-Wheat aroma is strongest, hints of sweet yeast.

T-Sweet and yeasty initially, slight ester fruitiness is next with plenty of hops to finish it off. Extremely well done.

M-Very smooth, especially considering this is almost 7%.

D-Nice. I think I'll have another!

For those of you that like to play around with blending beers-try blending Cynic with Bender-it's awesome.

deebo, Apr 19, 2011
CynicAle from Surly Brewing Company
89 out of 100 based on 1,233 ratings.